Condemnation; July 19, 2020

Matthew 12:7-8 “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

What caught my eye about this just now is the fact that condemnation is all the rage these days. People are being called racists for completely innocent things. That is to be expected from leftist activists. The history of political communism is filled with horrible examples, and it actually goes back before Marx, with the Jacobins during the French Revolution gleefully executing people for any reason or no reason at all. The term may be new, but “cancel culture” has been a blot on humanity from prehistory, in all probability. Here, Jesus is defending His disciples, but He Himself was perhaps the ultimate victim of this sort of thing when He was arrested, scourged, and crucified, and that at the instigation of the religious leaders! It is no surprise to get this sort of thing from leftists, but the sad thing is that some believers are falling for it too. I am in a Facebook group that is largely, and honestly, Christian, but there have been instances of horrible blanket accusations, particularly of the very people who would be most innocent of what they are been accused of. The Church has always been a breeding ground for legalism, and that is what Jesus is speaking against specifically here. God’s rules are real, but we have a bad tendency to embroider on and expand them to give us grounds to feel superior to someone else by condemning them. Jesus rightly quoted Hosea 6:6 to point out how wrong that is in God’s eyes.

I have disliked legalism for as long as I can remember, but at the same time I have a perfectionist streak, and I can be guilty of that which I hate. I am to proclaim mercy and grace, but at the same time not confuse that with excusing (rather than forgiving) sin. I am to proclaim the absolute truths of God, but at the same time recognize that only God knows people’s hearts. Today I will do the wake and tomorrow the funeral of someone who was a somewhat unconventional believer, but I believe his faith was real, certainly by the time he “graduated” yesterday, and I expect to see him rejoicing before God’s throne.

Father, thank You that my schedule was empty yesterday when I got the call from the man’s wife. Thank You that their sons are both able to be here for today and tomorrow. I pray that everything that is done would point people to You, particularly those who will be attending the services, who will be largely Buddhist. May my words, and Your presence in me, cut through the lies that have bound people and set them free to receive the Gospel, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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